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SPACE Treatment: Learning More about the SPACE group

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

SPACE Treatment Options

As caregivers, we are hard-wired to want to protect our children from harm and reduce their distress. However, when it comes to child anxiety, this is often not a helpful urge. Knowing how to help without feeding anxiety can be incredibly challenging. SPACE teaches parents a set of strategies they can use to respond effectively to their youth’s anxiety for years to come. The goal of the SPACE program is to empower caregivers to understand the principles at play so they can feel confident in responding to the various ways their child’s anxiety shows up over time. The SPACE protocol consists of mastering the following key steps:

SPACE Training at a Glance

  • Understanding Child Anxiety and How to Deliver Support

  • The Problem with Accommodation and Mapping Accommodation Behaviors

  • Choosing a Target & Factors to Consider

  • Making and Stress-Testing your Plan

  • Crafting and Delivering Announcements

  • Implementing the Plan and Troubleshooting

  • Choosing Additional Targets

What can I expect from the SPACE Group?

The SPACE group at TAP covers the core steps of SPACE. This allows caregivers to efficiently learn the key strategies and feel less alone in taking this important but challenging step. Caregivers gain confidence in implementing SPACE by doing so alongside other families experiencing similar challenges and may recognize accommodation behaviors they were unaware of in themselves. The group takes all families through the full process of implementing a plan to decrease one accommodation behavior. Families can then continue targeting additional behaviors on their own or choose to seek “consultation” from group leaders in an individual session as needed. Pending enough interest, monthly booster group meetings will be offered for those wanting to reconvene as a group to troubleshoot new targets.

When might individual SPACE training be a better fit?

Most caregivers will benefit from learning the foundational skills in the group and then can seek individualized additional support as needed. However, for families who cannot accommodate the group into their schedule, individual SPACE is available. In addition, at time of writing, caregivers of young adults (18+) seeking SPACE will need to seek this individually as the group is currently limited to caregivers of youth under age 18.

What if I’m afraid my child will harm themselves if I “push them” too hard?

This is a common and understandable concern of many parents. Part of the goal of the SPACE intake is to understand each child’s history of or current risky behavior in order to determine whether SPACE treatment is appropriate at this time. If SPACE is recommended, parents will be supported in developing a safety plan and learning how to effectively respond to youth’s urges or actions. This will be delivered through either an individual session with SPACE leaders or a group session devoted to this topic.

My child’s anxiety seems so complicated, how could it possibly be addressed in a group setting?

The goal of the SPACE group is to learn the core fundamentals of responding effectively to child anxiety. While the exact features of anxiety may vary slightly from person to person, the building blocks of the disorder and how it impacts interactions between caregivers and youth is remarkably similar between families. In the SPACE group, caregivers will receive individualized feedback on core aspects of delivering SPACE and group activities will focus on applying the general principles to your individual youth. By learning the core principles of SPACE first, caregivers decrease the likelihood of getting lost in the weeds of their youth’s specific details and are better able to see the broader patterns of anxiety. If, upon completion of the group, the family is in need of further support, individual SPACE consultation may be sought and be both more effective and efficient as it can build on the core skills learned in the SPACE group.

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